Liverpool: ‘Lack of depth may come back to harm us.’

"With how we qualified for the Champions League last season and the fear of missing out on the top-four we expected a big summer in terms of recruitment," Callum from Kop-ish is worried a long season could take its toll on the Reds.

Matthew Crist

Unlike all of their title rivals this summer, it was a quiet transfer window for Liverpool, opting to keep their chequebook closed while others around them spent big.

Liverpool have signed only Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig for £36m this summer with Jurgen Klopp insisting that he is happy with his squad.

However, both midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and forward Xherdan Shaqiri have left Anfield this summer, with neither player being directly replaced.

The Netherlands midfielder played every Premier League game for Liverpool last season, before joining Paris Saint-Germain on a free this summer, with Liverpool club owners FSG deciding not to offer the 30-year old a new long-term deal.

Shaqiri’s departure to Lyon, meanwhile, has exposed a potential issue in attack for Klopp this season, especially after Roberto Firmino suffered a muscle injury in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

Takumi Minamino has returned to Merseyside following his six-month loan spell at Southampton last season, but has scored just once in the league for Liverpool since joining in January 2020.

Liverpool FC

Fan favourite Divock Origi is still at the club, though the Belgian failed to register a single top-flight goal last season as Reds fans contemplate a campaign that could see their side short in both attack and midfield.

“For me, I’m a bit concerned that we’ve only brought in one player in this transfer window,” Callum from Kop-ish tells FansBet

“With how we qualified for the Champions League last season and the fear of missing out on the top-four we expected a big summer in terms of recruitment.

“Maybe not £100 million players but we did expect the squad to be bolstered.

“We’re in desperate need of a central midfielder, especially with Gini Wijnaldum leaving, he was the player that played most minutes for us in midfield last season.

“Also, we saw how much of a drop-off we had last season when Jota got injured. Saying that, we do still have a squad that is good enough to challenge for this league.”

In one of the most extraordinary windows on record, Manchester City splashed out £100m on Jack Grealish before missing out on Harry Kane.

Chelsea also reminded everyone of their spending powers by re-signing Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan for £97.5m.

Meanwhile, Manchester United stole all the headlines by bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford where he’ll join other big summer signings, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.

“I’m a little bit concerned by how much Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have enhanced their squad,” explains Callum.

“You look at the work they’ve done, they’ve plugged the gaps that needed to be plugged.

“As for Liverpool, we still need a centre midfielder, a wide forward and we need a striker.

“With the way Chelsea won the Champions League, how City dominated the Premier League and United coming on strong to finish second, I think we’re really up against it this season.”

Liverpool now have five established centre-backs at their disposal following the returns to fitness of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, plus Nat Phillips – something which should mean no more stints as makeshift defenders for Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.

Klopp Liverpool

“I’m absolutely delighted to see all the players returning to fitness after injury,” says Callum.

“Especially for Virgil and Matip. Everyone sees Virgil as the best centre back in world football but I think Matip is the one that goes under the radar though.

“He’s an excellent defender and we really missed him last season and the fact we now have five fit centre-backs is massive for us.

“Having Henderson back on the pitch or the bench is brilliant, Thiago is getting more used to the style of play, Jota hit like a wrecking ball when he arrived and then got injured but has started the season really well.”

Despite concerns over the strength of their squad, Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League after three games.

An opening day victory over Norwich was followed by a home win against Burnley before a gripping 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Anfield.

Liverpool FC

But Liverpool fans will be well aware that their side were top of the Premier League last Christmas before embarking on an awful run that saw them lose six home games on the bounce for the first time ever in the top-flight.

Eight wins from their last 10 Premier League games went some way to repairing the damage, with Jurgen Klopp’s side eventually securing a third-place finish on the final day of the season.

And supporters won’t need reminding of how damaging a poor run of form could be to Liverpool’s title ambitions, especially in a season which will see a number of their stars missing for the African Cup of Nations in the new year.

“The start of the season has gone pretty much how I thought it would. I thought we’d get wins against Norwich and Burnley.

“As for the Chelsea game, if you’d offered me a draw before the match I would probably have said yes, but the way it played out it was a little disappointing we didn’t get the win.

“Credit has to go to Chelsea who defended brilliantly but we didn’t attack well enough or come up with any creativity or innovation in terms of our attacking play.

“Last winter was one of the worst I’ve endured as a Liverpool fan, losing six home games on the bounce having not been beaten at home in the league for over 60 matches and I hope I never see anything like that again in my lifetime.

Norwich City v Liverpool 2021

“I think Jurgen Klopp will have learned a lot from that, however. I think he’ll have learned that we need to start rotating more and we’ve started to see that this season already, especially in midfield and upfront.

“What does worry me though is that the African Cup of Nations is in January so we’ll have to navigate through that period without Mane, Salah and Keita.

“As a fan, I hope we win the League, the Champions League and a domestic trophy. In fact, I hope we win all four. But I’m a realist at the end of the day.

“The lack of depth we have in areas may come back to harm us as the season comes to an end.

“You look at other teams who have got really good depth and I think that will be enough to get them over the line as opposed to us.”

Leave a comment

Follow Matthewjcrist on Twitter